Rabbi Judah Nadich (May 13, 1912 – August 26, 2007), was a Conservative Rabbi, who served congregations in Buffalo and Chicago, and later was the U.S. Army's senior Jewish chaplain in Europe while Allied forces were liberating Nazi concentration camps, and later was the President of the Rabbinical Assembly, the international association of Conservative rabbis.
He was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the eldest child of Isaac and Lena Nathanson Nadich, who had emigrated from Russia in the early 1900s. His father owned a grocery store. Rabbi Nadich's mother died when he was 7, and he and his two sisters were raised by their stepmother, Nettie Gifter Nadich, an immigrant from Lithuania. Isaac and Nettie also had a daughter together.
In 1936, four years after graduating from City College, Rabbi Nadich earned a master's degree in history from Columbia University and was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary. He led Conservative congregations in Buffalo and in Chicago before enlisting in the Army as a chaplain in 1942.
"In 1945, when he was a lieutenant colonel in the Army and its senior Jewish chaplain in Europe, and when the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps were being fully revealed, Rabbi Nadich was named to the new post of Jewish adviser to [General] Dwight Eisenhower "to offer advice on how to cope with hundreds of thousands of displaced persons being kept in military custody in squalid conditions little better than the camps they had survived. In a 1953 book, Eisenhower and the Jews, Rabbi Nadich wrote that he and others persuaded the Allied command to abandon a policy requiring the displaced to be returned to their home countries."
In 1947, Rabbi Nadich married Martha Hadassah Ribalow, the daughter of Menachem Ribalow, founder and editor of the first Hebrew weekly in America, Hadoar, and Rose Ribalow. He served at Congregation Kehillath Israel in Brookline, Mass., for 10 years, and then, from 1957 until his retirement in 1987, he served as rabbi of New York's Park Avenue Synagogue. There, Nadich "helped develop a strong educational after-school program, which is now called the Rabbi Judah Nadich Hebrew High School."
As President of the Rabbinical Assembly, in 1974, he called on the movement's Law Committee to "give careful consideration" to his proposal to admit ordained women, which eventually occurred in 1985. He died in New York City on August 26, 2007 at the age of 95.
- Dennis Hevesi (September 2, 2007). "Judah Nadich, Rabbi Who Improved Care of Holocaust Survivors, Is Dead at 95". New York Times.
- "Judah Nadich; Rabbi Advised Eisenhower in Europe". Associated Press. September 4, 2007.
- Claire Levenson (August 29, 2007). "Rabbi Judah Nadich, Eisenhower Adviser, Obituary". Daily Jewish Forward.
- In Tribute to Rabbi Judah Nadich and Martha Hadassah Ribalow Nadich, a blog created and maintained by their family.
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